Malik Pierre rushes for 137 yards, 4 TDs in Sachem North victory
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Sachem North coach Dave Falco said he didn't have any concerns about his team's ability to move the ball in the absence of quarterback Trent Crossan.
Even if he did, they were put to rest quickly.
The third-seeded Flaming Arrows moved the ball with precision and rode its multiback rushing attack to a 42-12 win over No. 6 Northport in a Suffolk I quarterfinal Friday night.
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Sachem North (7-2) advances to a semifinal next weekend with the date and opponent to be determined after Saturday's quarterfinal between top-seeded Commack and No. 8 Brentwood.
Just how potent were the Flaming Arrows? Senior running back Malik Pierre needed just seven touches to accumulate 137 yards and four touchdowns in the win.
"Obviously, with Trent out, you're going to be concerned because he was one of the best players on Long Island," Pierre said. "We knew we all had to pick up the slack and we did that."
Pierre wasn't the only active runner for Sachem North as Chris Biryla and Kevin Bragaglia each scored first-half touchdowns. Anthony Service, who has filled in for Crossan at quarterback, and Anthony Ross also were effective running the ball for the Flaming Arrows.
"Our kids have been focused the last couple of weeks, and we have refocused on what we do best," Falco said of his team's rushing attack.
Defensively, Sachem North, which forced two fumbles and had a blocked extra point, did give a little bit on the ground as Northport's James Gerdvil carried 15 times for 124 yards and a touchdown.
Sachem North also watched as Tigers quarterback Connor Quinn hit Brian Cannon for a 42-yard touchdown on a throwback play early in the third quarter. But that was all the Flaming Arrows' defense would surrender.
Sachem North set the tone early as it scored on five of its six first-half possessions.
Pierre ran up the right sideline for a 45-yard scoring run on Sachem North's first possession. He scored on a 41-yard run on his second touch to extend the advantage to 14-0 at the 7:57 mark of the first quarter.
Northport (4-5) answered on a 32-yard run by Gerdvil, to cut the deficit to 14-6, but Sachem North came back with three more scores in the final 16:40 of the first half.
Biryla took what looked to be a squib kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown, and Bragaglia hit pay dirt on an 11-yard run as the Flaming Arrows took a 35-6 halftime lead.